Food & Recipes

Pina Di Rosa in Napoli

Italian Portland is Thrilled to Share Seasonal Recipes

by Pina Di Rosa!

Cooking is a passion for Pina. And simplicity is the cornerstone of her dishes. Pina teaches cooking classes for Scuola Italiana di Portland as well as Italian language classes. She was born in the south of Italy, in Naples, but lived many years in Brescia, in the north. She earned her degree in nursing and practiced for over 25 years in the fields of psychiatry and psychology. Her passion for the study of humanities lead her to go back to school where she graduated from the Università Degli Studi di Pavia with high honors in Italian Language and Literature, with a thesis of Latin Paleography on the handwriting of the poet Giacomo Leopardi. Pina also loves music. She is a singer and guitarist and plays in different venues in and around Portland. She has published two CDs of her Italian music Io sono qui, and Napoli in Love. We are lucky to have Pina now residing in Portland, and sharing her passion for cooking Italian cuisine with us!

Gondole di Zucchine ~ Zucchini Gondolas

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 6 Zucchinis

  • 500ml Béchamel

  • 1 egg

  • 50 grams grated cheese (whichever kind you like, I prefer Parmigiano)

  • Breadcrumbs (a few tablespoons)

Béchamel Recipe

  • 500 grams Butter

  • 50 grams “00” Flour

  • 500 grams Milk (you can also use soy milk if you prefer) Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

In a pan, melt butter and add the flour, continuing to whisk to break up any lumps. Briefly remove the pan from the flame and add a little milk, continuing to mix with the whisk and break up the remaining lumps. Put the pan back on the flame and slowly add the remaining milk, a pinch of salt, pepper and grated nutmeg to taste. Continue to mix, cooking on low heat until you have reached a creamy consistency.

The Zucchini

Zucchini, are always in the refrigerator “just in case.” They are always ready, available for everything, and so good! This is an easy and very fast way to prepare them.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F).

For 4 people, you need 6 good zucchini that you will wash and cook whole in water or steam (be careful not to cut the top and bottom so that they do not fall apart while cooking).

It is important that the zucchini remain a bit hard, so pay attention to the cooking time and take the zucchini out of the water when they are very “al dente” and let them cool.

At this point, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. With a teaspoon, scrape out the zucchini flesh (this can be used to season pasta or for something else) and arrange the emptied zucchinis on the bottom of a oiled baking dish (or dish covered with parchment paper). Fill them with the cream you will prepare by mixing the béchamel previously prepared and cooled, the salt and pepper you like, 1 raw egg, and grated cheese.

After the “gondolas” are filled, sprinkle breadcrumbs on the filling and put a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (or butter if you prefer). Put the baking dish in an oven previously heated to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F) for at least 15-20 minutes.

This dish is best eaten hot. When you eat them, pay attention because, these “gondolas” tell their story of goodness in your mouth!